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post #1 of 12 Old 02-27-2018, 04:15 AM Thread Starter
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Looking for information please

I have been doing a lot of research lately trying to find something semi specific, although experienced opinions and pro vs con scenarios that were informed would be helpful as well.

I have been a forum lurker for the past 3 years exactly to the day yesterday. I easily remember, because it's my birthday lol. Anyways, I suppose yesterday was my "coming out" party here on the forums, and I'm learning that typing here is not as big and scary as I thought it would be! So here goes.

I have read a lot ( like a lot a lot a lot) of new owners horse shopping and getting new horses, or even just experienced horse owners shopping around. It seems to be one of two scenarios happens.

The first is that the person cannot find what they are looking for in a horse. Every horse has faults, and you try to find one that you can live with kinda thing. Sometimes the ad says it's sweet and gentle and you get there and it's Lucifer waiting to claim your soul. Other times it's supposed to not be a kicker, but it could score more field goals than a pro soccer team. Or possibly it's got bad feet or perhaps it has crooked legs. Either way, finding a decent horse even for a good budget seems very complicated!!

The second scenario I read a lot of is people buying the horse they (finally!!) found that meets all of their requirements and doesn't have any major physical issues. . . Only for it to turn into bridezilla within the next 4 months or so, and ending up not being what they wanted at all. The end result here is pay for a trainer or get a better suited horse, right?

So my question is IF you have the time, IF you are willing to wait to ride, and IF you have the money for a trainer anyways, why not get a yearling? In that case you would know the basic conformation you'd end up with. You'd know the basic temperament, and even though all the people say it's a ton of work, they all say you end up with a better bond. Green and green equals black and blue, but even with a trainer? My thought is, at least this way wouldn't you be better off not ending up with someone else's mess??

If I did not ask the right way or word it correctly, please do forgive me. I'm nosing around and though I am a very long way off from being able to buy my own horse due to personal hurdals, not financial, I'm still trying to grasp the big do's/don'ts/why's/why nots. Thank you all in advance!!
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post #2 of 12 Old 02-27-2018, 07:13 AM
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Ok, here is my take on the matter!

First off I have had many horses and ponies in my care that were 100% for their owners. Then said owners take the animals to their homes and after a month or so the animals turn into the devil reincarnated.

Answer is that owners are not correcting the little things and the animal catches on that it can misbehave and does to varying degrees.

So, buying a yearling is well amd good of A) Are experienced not only in handling a youngster but also in feeding. B) Have the patience to wait to do things with the animal. c) Have the money to send it to a good trainer for starting D) Have the time and money to continue with training when he horse is being ridden if you are not fully experienced with horses.

For the cost of buying and growing a horse you could buy something that is not a mess!

An example of this was a pony I sold for a client. Perfectly good jumping pony had won many classes for my client/pupil. There were no ifs or buts about him.
The woman who bought him was experienced and had two daughters competing, these girls won a lot especially in the show ring. A couple of months after selling I get a call to say that pony is absolutely impossible to clip, couldn't even get the clippers near him.

I went over the next day and stood back watching, sure enough he nearly climbed the wall and kicked out at the owner. I was aghast at the change.
I picked up the twitch and whacked him really hard across his butt, letting him know that I was not going to take his nonsense. Picked up the clippers and clipped him out without him even being tied.

Horses aren't stupid and soon catch on to what they can/cannot get away with.
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post #3 of 12 Old 02-27-2018, 08:03 AM
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I would advise a new, green horse owner not to go with a yearling. My reason being, that even after the horse is started by a trainer, it is still a green horse.

The person will have one, probably two years of horse expenses before they can even start to ride. They should probably take lessons while waiting. More expense. The trainer that starts the horse is an expense. Because the 2 or 3 year old started horse is still green, it will need further training, preferably with someone who will train horse and rider together. More expense.

Better, I think, to take the time to search out a mature horse that fits the type of riding the green buyer wants to do. The barn owner that I rode for preferred that folks lease a horse from him before deciding whether or not to buy it. Same guy often offered a buy back deal on the horses he sold. The buy back deal expired after a certain length of time, usually a year.

I said all that with the assumption that the goal of the person is to have a horse they can ride. That is not everyone's goal, but it is the most common.
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post #4 of 12 Old 02-27-2018, 08:24 AM
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Because horses are unique individuals and there is no guarantee the horse will be : 1) What you want or 2) What you need. So you have invested 2 years of your time and money along with someone else's time while they are earning your money to finally say "I need another horse." Add that to you aren't riding and it will be YOUR behavior around that horse as it is yours, in your care that is formatting its behavior. In this case green + green not only equal black and blue for you but quite likely also for the person that has to correct all the bad behavior.

I can also say I have BTDT with a niece whose parents insisted she had her own horse to raise and it had to be a weanling. She got really bored, really fast and fortunately for the horse he spent 4 years with me. He still ended up a spoiled rotten brat that according to them can no longer be ridden because of attitude. They've had him 5 years now. They had no clue even with a 4 y.o. greenie (basically 30 day by me and another 30 by a student of mine because I knew they would not turn him over to a trainer when they brought him home) and a trainer on hand when they all ended up getting thrown because the only one with a clue how to ride was the 12 y.o. niece that had been in lessons on and off for 4 years while baby grew up.

A newbie just isn't prepared enough unless you are a responsible child with a parent capable of guiding you 24/7 because they have the experience raising and training. Or I an adult that marries someone with solid experience in raising and training babies.
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post #5 of 12 Old 02-27-2018, 09:25 AM
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Agree with what others have said.

Most people think of affording a trainer as 30 days or 60 days. Which will still get you a very green and young horse.
Not to mention the experience required to raise the baby right before you send them to the trainers, and youngsters can be exasperating just like puppies - full of energy and mischief that needs to be directed constructively. That is something you deal with in handling each day.

There are other things, which make buying a youngster as full of risk as buying an older horse. For one thing, you certainly don't know the temperament. A crazy, energetic baby can turn into a mellow, lazy adult, and some young horses are very mellow while growing and get more energetic and even spookier when older.
You don't necessarily know the conformation either, and although you hope the young one will resemble the parents, you might get genes from farther back that crop up. A horse might end up growing more or less than you like, or end up built downhill.

My friend has a cross of two breeds that are supposed to be fairly mellow. I've often read that Connemaras usually have a steady temperament, and Standardbreds are also known for the same. I've often seen where beginner rides are put on Standardbreds rather than Thoroughbreds. Yet my friend's cross is one of the hottest horses I've ever met, super fiery. She was more mellow before she matured.
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post #6 of 12 Old 02-27-2018, 10:11 AM
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My opinion from personal, practical experience is that a newcomer to horses is best served to take several years of lessons on many different horses before contemplating owning one. It's fine to have that as a goal, and to do a LOT of window shopping, but get into a good lesson program and really learn how to ride and handle horses before buying. Depending on how much training the newcomer gets, a yearling may or may not be a good idea. If the trainer has several really young horses and is willing to work with the person on how to handle and train them, then it's probably going to work out ok, IF the person is patient and doesn't mind waiting 2,3 or even 4 years to ride that horse.

Horses are a lot like people in that they mature at different rates. Some are ready to go to the trainer and be lightly saddle broke at 2, others need to wait until they are 3 or even 4. Most of mine can get started by 2, but I have 1 who will wait at least another year, she's just not mentally ready to accept that amount of training yet. And even with waiting until she is 3 or 4, she may not end up being what I want under saddle, though genotypically and phenotypically she is exactly what I wanted. They have their own minds and their own personalities and you won't know for sure, until you have the horse going under saddle for at least a year, whether or not it will end up what you want.

Most newcomers are better off to buy a 'made' horse or a 'BTDT' (been there, done that) horse that's a little older and well trained. I love being able to find an old lesson horse that is being retired, they are generally well trained but have some issues. Usually they are sound enough for 1 person to ride, even frequently, but may not be able to handle 5 or more hour long lessons in a day. They may be a little hard mouthed, but that can be fairly easily remedied (usually). Sometimes they have arthritis and need some form of maintenance. But they will teach you to ride and keep you safe while you explore more things than you get in weekly lessons. Sometimes they're a little grumpy and not your favorite lesson mount, but with one owner and not a bunch of different riders, they will soften and become sweet. A mid-teens horse can be kept sound and ridable, many times long past the time you need such a horse. They're worth their weight in gold.

As for the personality changes, the horse turning into the Devil Incarnate, there are a couple of possibilities. If it happens within days of buying the horse, it may have been drugged. If it's months, then it's usually a discipline issue. And sometimes, if it's an older horse, it can be pain. Fix the pain or fix the discipline, you fixed the horse's attitude. If it was drugged, that's a whole 'nuther kettle of fish, and why a newcomer should have a trainer shop for or with them.

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post #7 of 12 Old 02-27-2018, 11:24 AM
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I would never advise anyone to buy a yearling unless they're already experienced.
I know that you learn by doing things but a young horse isn't something to practice on because every time you make a mistake, every time you let the youngster get away with something, every time you use a method that's wrong for some reason you're 'training' that horse and leaving a mark on it that will likely stay there forever.
Very few problem horses are born problem horses.
They do all have their own unique temperament but that's only a problem when they get into the hands of a person who doesn't have the skills to work with it.
On top of that a good quality yearling isn't necessarily going to be cheap. Add to that the costs of feeding, vet fees, farrier's fees, boarding if you don't have your own place and then paying for a trainer if you can't break the horse on your own and you find that if you'd waited and saved that money you could afford to buy a good trained horse to start with
Most people that end up with problem horses don't put enough research time in when buying and don't look well enough into the horse that they're going to buy before parting with cash.

Just winging it is not a plan
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post #8 of 12 Old 02-27-2018, 12:04 PM
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Originally Posted by findinghappy View Post
The first is that the person cannot find what they are looking for in a horse. Every horse has faults, and you try to find one that you can live with kinda thing.
This sort of baffles me. I can't think of something the horse does that I label "I can live with". Maybe I'm misinterpreting (I usually do), but "I can live with it" sounds kind of sucky. And I really don't want to live with that. I prefer a horse that if he's capable (age, health, conformation), he does what he's asked (almost every time) and at the same time, the performance looks like something the horse wants to be doing it.

And the connection you build with the horse shoots up a level when the horse realizes, that your standards are now what the horse needs to meet. Meeting your standards are what the horse "can live with". And he'll be happy to live with them.
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post #9 of 12 Old 02-27-2018, 12:04 PM
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The 2nd horse I got was a yearling (she was a gift). I was a "backyard" rider (never any lessons, would just get on and go, so knew nothing), but at least I was smart enough to know that I could not start her. I sent her to a local trainer (the same one I ride with now and who is training my current filly - check out my journal in the Member Journal section for pix/video!) for 60 days. Not knowing anything I thought that was a LONG time. It isn't. But it was still long enough for her to know way more than I did.

She dumped me when I got her home. Not because she was mean, she was just feeling good, kicked up and I lost my balance and fell. That happened three times. I went to the trainer for lessons. Took me a good 2-3 years of dedicated lessons to be competent on my horse. She became the best horse ever (my Heart Horse) and we were a great team together, but it took lots of lessons, lots of dedication, lots of tears and lots of HARD WORK to get there. I wouldn't trade the experience for the world, but because of it, I am also in the group of "No Yearlings for Inexperienced People". It's not fair to the horse. They need a good start in the world (consistent good training) to land softly if you are unable to keep them.

Here's my girl; I lost her in 2016 in a stable accident:

That's her in my avatar, too.

Last edited by kewpalace; 02-27-2018 at 12:13 PM.
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post #10 of 12 Old 02-27-2018, 12:31 PM
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Originally Posted by ducky1234 View Post
This sort of baffles me. I can't think of something the horse does that I label "I can live with". Maybe I'm misinterpreting (I usually do), but "I can live with it" sounds kind of sucky. And I really don't want to live with that. I prefer a horse that if he's capable (age, health, conformation), he does what he's asked (almost every time) and at the same time, the

performance looks like something the horse wants to be doing it.

And the connection you build with the horse shoots up a level when the horse realizes, that your standards are now what the horse needs to meet. Meeting your standards are what the horse "can live with". And he'll be happy to live with them.
Doesnít baffle me at all....there are no perfect horses, every one has good and bad...

Fergies faults were being a mare, a red head, being spooky, and older than I wanted.

None of them were deal breakers obviously, and the positives outweighed the negatives..

BUT, I would never have bought her without my trainer assuring me that we could work through the up headed spookiness, oh and the tendency to tuck her head between her knees when asked into contact.

Moral of the story, she was a bit of a diamond in the rough, but with trainer support she has become great. 5 years ago, or even now without that help, would have been a disaster.
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